6 07 2008

We tried to do something so incredibly ridiculous to the children that I’m embarrassed to admit it.

In previous years, we’ve taken the kids some fun places to watch fireworks — Arvada, Broomfield, Loveland, and downtown Denver. All of these have been great shows, but the kids have always hated them.

They sit and plug their ears. They cry. They want to know why the fireworks are still going off, and how much longer will it be until they’re finished. I, on the other hand, LOVE fireworks. I used to buy the good, illegal fireworks in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where the only limitation on what you could buy was how much you could afford. I just cannot understand how any biological offspring of mine could not enjoy colorful, exploding things that make loud noises.

I didn’t feel like having a fight about it this year, so Liesl and I made a different sort of plan. On Thursday night, during Last Comic Standing, we saw a commercial for the “Macy’s 4th of July Television Extravaganza,” which was going to feature performances by several big-name country singers and a fireworks show. It was the perfect solution: sitting inside, able to make the fireworks as loud or as quiet as the kids wanted.

We broke this idea to the children on the morning of July 4th. Instead of excitement, they looked at me as if I had grown an extra eyeball in the middle of my forehead.

“Why can’t we watch the real fireworks in the sky?” Aidan whined. “Yeah, we HAVE to see the fireworks,” Ryan complained. “It’s the birthday of the USA!” Kaylynn caught on enough to know that pouty faces were in order, so she pouted along with her siblings.

And that was the end of our cheesy, stupid plan to watch prerecorded fireworks on television. We decided to go into town and watch the real ones.

About noon, Gabe called and invited us to their house for the afternoon. He, Beka, Liesl and I had a great time discussing movies, politics and the end of the world. Meanwhile, the kids played outside in the water. Gabe is a genius when it comes to knowing what kids will find fun. He has a big, plastic, dome-shaped tent that must stand at least twelve feet high. Inside the tent is a trampoline, and attached to the ceiling of the tent is the sprinkler. It’s brilliant, because even if it’s windy, the kids can play in the water inside the tent without getting too cold. And who doesn’t love a wet trampoline?

Just before dark, we and the Anasts loaded up all the kids and headed to Granny and Grandad’s house. They have a pretty good view of the fireworks display from their front yard, which is where we camped out. The Anasts’ oldest four and our three spread out on a big blanket. We grown-ups sat in more comfortable lawn chairs, I lit my pipe, and we settled back for the pre-show entertainment.

I hadn’t paid attention to the fireworks stands on the outskirts of town. I heard that fireworks were illegal in New Mexico the same as in Colorado, so I didn’t think these stands would be selling anything more than small fountains and sparklers. I was apparently quite wrong. All around, families everywhere lit off artillery shells that put my old Wyoming fireworks to shame.

And then the big show started. I was surprised and impressed. I expected a pretty small display given the fact that Gallup isn’t such a big city, but it lasted almost half an hour and had some really neat fireworks I hadn’t seen before. The kids all had a great time together.

We got back to the Straw Bale House and into bed a little before 11. Lying in bed, listening to artillery shells still bursting in the distance, I smiled to myself, thankful for all of the freedoms that allowed me to have such a fun Independence Day with my family.

And I grinned a little at the knowledge that if I come up with an exceptionally stupid idea like watching fireworks on television when there are real ones outside, my kids are smart enough to smack me on the head and bring me back to reality.

You can click the photos below for slightly larger versions.

Ryan, Kaylynn and Aidan

Ryan, Kaylynn and Aidan

Ryan and Aidan watching fireworks

Ryan and Aidan watching fireworks

Rob and Liesl during the show

Liesl and Rob during the fireworks show




6 responses

6 07 2008

No matter how humerous your posts are, there’s always some truth and logic and seriousness in there somewhere. The mark of a great story-teller. I’m really glad you guys had fun at the fireworks. And I’m glad you were able to be together, too. 🙂

6 07 2008

Seeing the pictures of your kids brought tears to my eyes – as always I miss them more than I can adequately express. It was fantastic talking to Aidan and Kaylynn on the phone and I look forward to more of that. Until you come back here that is. 😉 lots and lots of love

6 07 2008

That’s the kind of 4th of July I grew up having. I love the pictures. I need them in prints – real prints!

6 07 2008
Aunty Penn

Good choice, Pops.

7 07 2008
Terri Spratte

Wow Seeing the pic of the kids, it is amazing how much they hve changed since I last seen them. I miss you all and hope you are well. Glad you ad a wonderful 4th.

7 07 2008
Edie C.

Rob, I’ve been trying to keep up with your blogs, but, sometimes have to read two or three all at once. You are a great story-teller! What treasures for your kids later in life. I have downloaded the picture of the kids and added it to my screen-saver which is also my prayer reminder. Your family is now in my prayers – often.
P.S. – I love the way Ryan crosses her legs. Sweet!

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